Sunday, April 23, 2017

I'm Not Even Going to Mention Those Two German Girls with Their Pomeranian

Finally diagonal

I dug a hole two feet deep into the earth and stood in it

The motorcycle wove in and out of traffic

The water of the pond was bright green with algae

The tattered Tibetan flags fluttered in the wind

There was a plastic combination pen and change holder
on the glass counter holding two pens and
six pennies

We lost interest in one another at approximately the same time

I tried to recall the last time I’d committed an act of kindness
that didn’t involve my cat

There was an estate sale at the hoarder’s house
every day for a week

The last woman born in the 19th century died at 117

The lights of the windows looked like eyes

I put out my hand and an apple fell into it

I missed her so much

The drunker he gets the more pronounced his speech impediment becomes

I’m having trouble placing his accent
It’s halfway between German and Scottish

I stared at the back of their heads, spread my arms wide, prepared to dive

Her glowing palm was all I could see in the dark as she lit her cigarette

She is starring in a stage adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time

My life was blessed in more ways than I could count, in ways I could never begin to deserve, and yet I still griped

He paid her to get down on her knees. She paid him to let her get back up

A light winked out forever and we didn’t notice until much later

Two of them were very ugly but the other was extraordinarily beautiful

Sometimes clichés really resonate

He convinced himself he could communicate with insects

She used her compact to flash signals in Morse code

Most of the statements I collected that night were trivial at best
I hoped to give them meaning by stringing them together, though I know
my chances were slim
I hoped to create a beautiful patchwork quilt

Suddenly the place was overrun by an army of women with beautiful legs

You longed to shave the entire world bald

Pearl snaps on a plaid Western shirt

Teeth sink into the meat, it’s time to go just as it’s getting started

Time to make some late night ill-advised telephone calls

Friday, April 21, 2017

Apple Watch

 Your whisper rustling paper
Cardboard and burlap, fat pink marks
running down both arms. Satin ribbons
and woolly twine, honey dipped in lace.
My wife. Socks bunched around your ankles.
Necklace of snake vertebrae coiled
around your wrist. I ask you where you got it
and you say a man with an apple cart
gave it to you. I look at the watch
 you gave me for Christmas years ago.
Its strap is broken, held together with
a safety pin. The Tree of Knowledge
was actually the Tree of Time
and a hissing salesman sold Eve
the first watch, which she gave to Adam
as an anniversary gift. He just bought her
another set of lacy fig leaf lingerie.
Ever since then, you've clung to my back
 while something clings to your back
and something else clings to that thing's back
and so on and so on. You scatter strands
here and there, hoping someone will gather them up
and braid them together but no one does.
Hair sprouts from the cracks when you laugh.
What worm burrows beneath your skin,
pushing to get out? What is that itch?
What is that thing inside you wanting to hatch,
ticking and ticking just like 
this watch

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Car is in the Garage, Idling

It and I land on you
feed then lift off when
we're almost done
leaving you an empty sack
collapsing in on yourself

It and I chase your children
through all the rooms of the house
up and down the stairs
pretending we don't hear
their breathing through the closet door

It and I prop our feet
on the lawn sculptures
sipping your best cognac
marveling at how the crystal
reflects the flames

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Wooden clouds, raining sawdust
that catches in her lashes, dusts her scalp
Sweet smelling. The sky is criss-crossed
with rafters. The girl’s name is Sky.
She stares cross-eyed, beaming
at a woodpecker hammering
an electrical pole
Bow-legged, knobby-kneed. She saddles
a sawhorse, straddles a half-sawed log
that spans the stream.
The water gurgles between the rocks,
between her legs, she screams
a splintering laugh Her curly locks,
corkscrews of peeled cellulose.
A trickle of sap runs down
her smoothly-sanded cheek.
She pops her joints and throws a peg,
squeaky hinges, pulls herself up the rope
to the rusty pulley screwed to a tree limb.
Swings from a plank, clatters up
the rungs of a ladder, grips a paddle,
splits herself in half to ride both extremes
of the creaking see saw, pauses to watch an ant
clinging to a blade of grass that scratches the brook
From branch to branch Sky bridges the gap
 Between her legs she grips a blade
whetted sharp enough to strip the thickest bark

or fell an elm with a single bloody chop

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I Don’t Mean to Disrespect the Dead but Werewolves of London is a Terrible Song

Saw him once
show at some tiny bar on the edge of town
Keely and I went. Keely
From what I remember
[you were the one with
the photographic memory]
he was terrific.
I remember Lawyers, Guns & Money, I remember
Werewolves, the whole crowd
howled along, he played
my favorite, Roland
the Headless Thompson Gunner, I remember
I’m sorry for everything

I remember Poor Poor Pitiful Me, I remember
Reconsider Me
Warren finally succumbed to cancer
I feel like I’m spinning, not in a good way.

I don’t regret everything
only nine tenths of it

I long
for just one sincere conversation

Just one

that never ends

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rosie Perez

My great uncle just died
and I’m scouring my memories
trying to come up with something other than
a vague impression of who he was. There’s not much.
I was closer to his wife, my grandmother’s sister,
who survives him.
I know he worked in broadcasting, sports television,
editing or something. [I could ask my mother
for details, and I will, but for now it seems more honest
if I plow through this myself.]
He was affable, always joking, self-deprecating.
When I was in college, I stayed with them a couple of times,
riding the train out to the Philadelphia suburbs.
He took me to the movies once. We saw
White Men Can’t Jump. [He picked it.]
The only thing I remember is how sexy
Rosie Perez was. I can see her very clearly,
wearing some skimpy black outfit,
toppling into bed with Woody Harrelson.
I remember driving away from the multiplex
and him saying, “Well that was pretty good.”
I feel bad but this is the clearest memory I’ve got.
He never tried to get close to me, I never asked him
anything about himself. I know you can’t
be close to everyone, but I see
how little effort I’ve made
with so many people, I see how little time
there really is
I can’t imagine ever watching
that movie again, but if I do
I’ll stare at Rosie Perez
who will always make me think

of Uncle Don